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Looking at key challenges and opportunities facing the Engineering, Construction and Operations (EC&O) industry today, it's hard to put your finger on just one aspect or trend in technology that encompasses everything. Across the whole 'construction life-cycle from bid award, through project delivery, and facility operations, there a host of conditions that are causing construction companies to rethink their approach; to transform into a more efficient, service-delivery-project-owner-centric business.

Trying to capture all that, I was reading an interesting article about a major technology company headquartered in the pacific northwest who connected their entire professional office campus of 125 buildings into a 'smart campus", achieving energy savings and other efficiency gains. In order to do that, 500 million data points are collected, each day. So, thinking about the EC&O life-cycle, facilities and smart building technology and applying simple math, I arrived at 182,500,000,000. That's how many data points this one smart campus of 125 buildings will collect annually. Let that sink in a second and one quickly understands the term "Big Data". That's it! Big Data, really is a concept that might best put into context the challenges and opportunities before the EC&O industry.  The mind will reel when you consider 182.5 billion data points are a drop in the ocean. As more devices and 'things' connect via M2M  telemetry and the internet, more data is piling up: zettabytes and yottabytes of data (yeah, yottabytes, look it up. Giza pyramids of data storage!).

SAP's in-memory database , HANA it really a profound, future-ready technology that is able to harness that huge amount of data and turn it into an asset by quickly generating information, then insights and finally smart decisions and actions. Surprisingly, if you search  all the sessions listed the SAPPHIRE NOW 213 website (over 2,000 including ASUG education sessions), only about 75 of them had had the term "big data". I expected more. The term is at the pinnacle of the the tech world zeitgeist, in my estimation. But, big data really is a factor in every technology area of innovation, including for the EC&O industry, whether in-memory, mobility, cloud, analytic or on-premise. Data happens. Let's look at some of the informative presentations and demo's scheduled for the Professional Services & Construction Forum, on Tuesday May 14th within the SAPPHIRE NOW event:

Trend #1 Lean construction & offsite fabrication are continuing to gain momentum.  Visionary companies are moving beyond Building Information modeling and fully embracing Virtual Design and Construction. (Big Data thought:  Imagine having a visual interface to see all your enterprise data, making it easier to comprehend and act on all that data)

  • Check out Session # 94927 "Visualize the Entire Construction Life-cycle with Visual Enterprise"

Trend #2 Tough market conditions and a changing workforce are forcing construction companies to look for efficiencies in new areas: Analytical tools are enabling a data driven approach to business management and differentiating top performers from the competition. (Big Data thought: With best-practice industry KPI's, Big Data can be harnessed for more effictive decision making)

  • Check out Session # 94934  "Embrace a Data-Driven Approach to the Construction Business"
  • Check out  Sessions # 94923  " Monitor Risks Associated with Subcontractor Insolvency"

Trend #3 The workforce is demanding mobile solutions:  The proliferation of  consumer mobile apps is transforming the way people think. Leading companies are leveraging this trend to drive increased productivity and profitability . (Big Data thought: Mobile devices produce data, and allow analytic insights anywhere.)

  • Check out Session #94912 "Go Mobile to Ramp-Up Efficiency"

There is so much more to learn and do at SAPPHIRE and the Professional Services & Construction Forum on May 14th.

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